Largest Warships in Service, the Nimitz-class

largest warship nimits-classThe Nimitz-class are the largest warships currently in service. The class comprises ten supercarrier. The largest warships are in service with the US Navy.

The class' lead ship, USS Nimitz, was commissioned on May 3, 1975. The name is given after Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. He is the last fleet admiral of the United States Navy.

The last vessel from the largest warships class is USS George H.W. Bush, commissioned on January 10, 2009. Their hull numbers are numbered consecutively from CVN-68 to CVN-77 and they are nuclear-powered supercarriers.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers took part in many operations and conflicts across the world.

List of the Largest Warships in Service

According to the United States Navy, the Nimitz-class vessel are ten.


Hull Number

Laid down




USS Nimitz


June 22,


May 13,


May 3,


  • Naval Air Station North Island (San Diego, California)
  • 2011: Naval Station Everett (Everett, Washington)

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower


August 15,


October 11,


October 18,


Naval Station Norfolk

(Norfolk, Virginia)

USS Carl Vinson


October 11,


March 15, 1980

March 13,


Naval Air Station North Island

(San Diego, California)

USS Theodore Roosevelt


October 31,


October 27, 1984

October 25,


Naval Station Norfolk

(Norfolk, Virginia)

USS Abraham Lincoln


November 3,


February 13, 1988

November 11,


  • Naval Station Everett (Everett, Washington)
  • 2011: Naval Station Norfolk (Norfolk, Virginia)

USS George Washington


August 25,


July 21,


July 4,


Yokosuka Naval Base

(Yokosuka, Japan)

USS John C. Stennis


March 13,


November 11, 1993

December 9,


Naval Base Kitsap

(Bremerton, Washington)

USS Harry S. Truman


November 29,


September 7, 1996

July 25,


Naval Station Norfolk

(Norfolk, Virginia)

USS Ronald Reagan


February 12,


March 4,


July 12,


Naval Air Station North Island

(San Diego, California)

USS George H.W. Bush


September 6,


October 9, 2006

January 10,


Naval Station Norfolk

(Norfolk, Virginia)

Design of the Largest Warships

largest warship schematicThe largest warships were order to maintain the US Navy strength as supplementary of the Enterprise class and the Kitty Hawk class. The design of the Nimitz-class is relative to the Kitty Hawk class' and improved compared to Forrestal class and Enterprise class. Main differences are the reactors. Enterprise class has eight. The largest warship in service – two. They take less space. Compared to Forrestal class, the Nimitz-class carry aviation fuel up with 90 % and the ordnance is 50 % more.

largest warship USS theodore rooseveltUSS Nimitz was constructed around the Vietnam War time and that influenced the design. The largest warship had bigger magazines and bigger aviation fuel stores.

The first three vessel (USS Nimitz, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Carl Vinson) had small differences compared to the final seven. The equipment of the largest warships, after USS Theodore Roosevelt, includes better SH-60F Seahawk helicopters and S-3 Viking ASW patrol planes support and newer radar systems. The structural differences are slight.

The coast of each one of the largest warships is estimated to be nearly $4.5 billion, only USS George H.W. Bush's cost was around $6.2 billion. They were built by Newport News Shipbuilding Company.

General Characteristics

Displacement: 100,000–106,300 t (100,000 - 104,600 long tons)
  • Overall: 332.8 m (1,092 ft)
  • Waterline: 317.0 m (1,040 feet)
  • Overall: 76.8 m (252 ft)
  • Waterline: 40.8 m (134 ft)
  • Maximum navigational: 11.3 m (37 ft)
  • Limit: 12.5 m (41 ft)
  • Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors (2)
  • steam turbines (4)
  • shafts (4)
  • 260,000 shp; 194 MW
Speed: Over 30 knots (35 mph ; 56 km/h)
Range: Unlimited distance (20-25 years)
  • Ship's company: 3,200
  • Air wing: 2,480
Sensors, processing systems:
  • AN/SPS-49(V)5 2-D air search radar
  • AN/SPS-48E 3-D air search radar
  • AN/SPN-46 air traffic control radars
  • AN/SPQ-9B target acquisition radar
  • AN/SPN-41 landing aid radars
  • AN/SPN-43C air traffic control radar
  • Mk 95 radars (4)
  • Mk 91 NSSM guidance systems (4)
Electronic warfare&decoys:
  • SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo countermeasures
  • SLQ-32A(V)4 Countermeasures suite
  • NATO Sea Sparrow missiles or RIM-7 Sea Sparrow(between 16 and 24)
  • RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles or Phalanx CIWSs (3 or 4)
Armor: 2.5 in (64 mm) Kevlar over vital spaces
Aircraft carried: fixed wing and helicopters: 85–90

Service of the Nimitz-class

Operation Eagle Claw, in 1980, was among the first major operations of the largest warships class. USS Nimitz was deployed to the Indian Ocean. There were hostages in the American embassy in Teheran.

largest warship USS Nimitz

The Nimitz-class were involved in the Gulf War, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield. They took part also in humanitarian mission like Operation Fiery Vigil, Operation Restore Hope and Operation Vigilant Sentinel.

Part of the service of the largest warships is to provide aid in case of natural disaster. They supported Indonesia after the tsunami in December 2004, the Hurricane Katrina (2005) rescue operations, assisted after the Typhoon Fengshen (June 2008) in the Philippines and provided aid to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010.

The carriers from the Nimitz-class are designed with 50-year life in service. The first ship to be decommissioned is USS Nimitz. The cost will be $750 - $900 million. Their status of "largest warships in the US Navy" gives them a symbolic role.

The largest warships will be replaced by the Gerald R. Ford class. The class is expected to have ten vessels and their design will be similar to USS George H.W. Bush. The first will replace USS Enterprise in 2016, the rest will replace the oldest of the Nimitz-class.